Klaus Rifbjerg was born on 15 December, 1931, on the island of Amager (Copenhagen), the youngest child of two teachers. He grew up in a sheltered, liberal home and his literary work is marked by a repeated return to themes of childhood and youth. His first book of poetry, "Under Vejr med mig selv", was published in 1956 and was followed in 1958 by his well-received first novel, "Den kroniske uskyld" (1958). The novel is now a fixture of the school curriculum, has been filmed, and is considered as one of the classics of modern Danish literature. Rifbjerg is closely associated with the development of literary modernism in Denmark, often surprising his readership with his experimentation with new forms. He has now published almost 150 works across a range of genres: poetry, prose, plays, criticism, essays, diaries, manuscripts, film, radio and television plays and journalism.
Rifbjerg studied English literature in Copenhagen and at Princeton and in the early years of his literary career also worked as a journalist, in the film business and as the editor of the magazine "Vindrosen". He subsequently spent 10 years as the literary director of the Copenhagen Gyldendal publishing house. He has been a member of the Danish Academy since 1967.